Press and curl, braids, cornrows with color coordinated beads - all  styles every little black princess has rocked, but is perming our daughter's hair one step too far?

The African-American hair industry grosses over $9 Billion dollars a year. Brands such as 'Dark & Lovely', 'Olive Miracle' and 'Elasta QP' have been selling African-American women perms and relaxers for years, however, should parents draw the line when it comes to their children?

One could argue that there is something socially  discouraging about perming a child's hair. Does it suggests that the texture that they were born with is not good enough? Maya Angelou, African-American historian, poet and author said, ‘hair is a woman’s glory, and you share that glory with your family and they get to see you braiding it and washing it, it’s a glory, but it’s not a bad thing or a good thing, its hair if you have it on your head its good.’  Should we be teaching little girls to embrace the curls and kinks they were born with? Is permanently changing the texture of your child's hair sending the wrong message to our young queens?

The common perm usually contains  ammonium thioglycolate. The side effects of this chemical includes: scalp damage, redness, itching, burning and peeling. Some parents argue that perming a child's hair helps to control when combing and styling, especially for children with particularly thick hair. It allows more time in the morning because it reduces styling time, but is a few extra minutes worth the risk of the side effects?

Black hair is a beautiful thing. It is unique and fascinating. Our hair is our crown, it's what makes us special.  We have the ability to manipulate our hair to create different looks and it is truly wonderful. However, don't you think that the choice of permanently changing the texture should be made by the child at an appropriate age?

Hot Topic: What are your thoughts? To perm or not to perm?

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  1. I have two daughters who are now 20 and 16. I refused to put relaxers in their hair. I told them that if they wanted one that they would have to do it as an adult. They are both still natural.

  2. My hairstylist advised little girls should not receive perms until after they’ve gotten a period. The hair texture is still changing up until that point.I’m 12 years natural and of course my 6 yr old is natural.We both have 3C texture hair.I do not use heat with her hair. However; when she’s older I wouldn’t be oppose to using a blow dryer and ceramic iron.

  3. Say no to perm! Absolutely no perm. Most girls I grew up with had perms in their hair and the majority have grown into women who regretted it and went natural again. Some had to cut all their hair off and start over to enjoy their natural hair. Natural hair is so versatile and yes it does take time and dedication to care for it. I have quite a few young daughters and I am not the best at keeping up with the hair care needs. But the convenience of perms is not worth the damage to self-esteem, self-love, and the damage to the hair itself. Stretching the hair after washing is a safer way to help hair be more manageable for styling. We should not teach our girls that they have to emulate the beauty standards promoted in order to be beautiful.

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